Workers Move To China, India To Reclaim Lost Jobs

Published: Tue 25 Nov 2003 11:30 AM
Blue Collar Workers Move To China, India To Reclaim Lost Jobs
Mass exodus of manufacturing jobs prompts mass migration of American workers to the Third World .
Satire From...
CAPTION: Kellerman hopes he will fit in at his new job in Calcutta.
Free Trade Zone-- Thousands of blue collar workers are leaving the United States in pursuit of the 2.7 manufacturing jobs that moved overseas during the past three years.
Deke Kellerman, a worker at the recently-closed Maytag Plant in Galesburg, Illinois, is moving his family to India so that he can keep his job constructing refrigerators. His pay will be cut from $11.95 to a whooping 35 cents an hour.
“There aren't any jobs here in the states anymore,” Kellerman said. “So me and Missy, Deke Jr. and Delyn decided we’d move over there and give it a shot. I figure as long as they got a Mickey D’s and I can catch the Bears on TV, I’ll be happy.”
The Kellermans are not the only family from the closed Maytag plant that are moving half-way around the world to save their jobs.
Buel Jackson, his wife, Mary and their children Tucker, Conroy and Beldin followed Jackson’s job all the way to the slums of Surat in the Western Indian State of Gujaret.
“Sure, we don’t have any running water, tuberculosis is rampant and, last week, a couple of buildings in the slum collapsed, killing a bunch of people, but we’re happy...sort of,” Jackson said.
In the Jackson family’s one-room abode, the children sleep on mats on the floor. The youngest child, Beldin, lay on the floor sweating from a severe bout of dengue fever.
“The hardest part for me has been getting used to the food,” said Mary Jackson, as she placed a cool cloth on her son’s forehead. “We can’t afford any.”
CAPTION: The slums of Surat may be infested with diseased rats and open sewers, but at least it's close to the sweatshop where the Jackson family works together.
Mary Jackson who used to weigh a portly 180 pounds has lost 50 pounds since the family moved to India three months ago.
She moved about the apartment wearing an Eskimo Joe shirt underneath a Sari.
While the Jackson family used to regularly throw away several pounds of food per week, they now pour a little water into their bowls after they have had their daily allotment of rice so that they can sop up every last morsel of food.
Besides Buel, the rest of the family also works on the assembly line at the Maytag plant for 12 hours a day eeking out barley enough money to survive.
The mass exodus of manufacturing jobs started during President Reagan’s tenure and gained steam when President Clinton signed the NAFTA free trade agreement, which opened up the borders between the US and Mexico. The creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) has led to the further loss of jobs. Both groups have loopholes that allow them to overturn national laws in areas such as safety and environmental standards.
"Increasing poverty and joblessness in the United States is not just an afterthought of our policy; it's the main motivation," said Robert Noriega, an assistant secretary of state. "Free trade is primarily about taking jobs away from Americans and creating economies based on slave labor around the world for the financial benefit of multi-national corporations."
Pittsburgh, PA Steel Worker Thomas Barrett, moved his family to Shuiye Town in the Henan Province of China to work for Huaguan Iron and Steel Co. after his company, Bethlehem Steel, shuttered its door earlier this year.
CAPTION: Thomas and Amy Barrett couldn't ask for better jobs except ones that paid enough to friggin' eat on.
Barrett works 14 hours a day in unsafe conditions while his children are schooled at the state-run Communist public school where they are taught anti-American propaganda and to hate Buddhists.
“Well, we couldn’t continued to compete against the slave wages that they pay over here in China so I decided if you can’t beat them join them,” Barrett said.
Barrett’s wife, Amy, works in a Textile company where she sews together blue jeans for shipment to the United States.
“Kind of ironic isn't it?” she said.
The 3 million lost jobs are not ever expected to return to the United States. Many analysts predict that within 10 years most of the manufacturing jobs in the country will have been lost permanently.
High Tech jobs are also being shipped overseas as Microsoft and other computer companies outsource tens of thousands of IT jobs to India and Singapore.
“Either everyone will work flipping burgers or we are going to undergo a mass exodus out of the U.S. in the next twenty years,” said Jerry Cohen, leader of NoWTO.
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